The Witcher forced to re-cast one of its second-string witchers due to COVID-19

Freshly minted witcher Basil Eidenbenz

Freshly minted witcher Basil Eidenbenz
Photo: David M. Benett/Dave Benett (Getty Images)

Despite the definitive article in its title, Henry Cavill’s Geralt Of Rivia isn’t the only witcher kicking around in Netflix’s The Witcher. Although his sect of mutant monster hunters is relatively small—on account of the scariest monster of all, medieval bigotry—there are a few other witchers hunting down zombie heads in author Andrzej Sapkowski’s fantasy universe, most of them based out of Geralt’s homebase of Kaer Morhen. And now there’s one more—sort of—as Deadline reports that the TV series has been forced to re-cast one of the franchise’s most notable non-Geralt witchers, due scheduling issues imposed by COVID-19.

Specifically, it’s being reported that Danish actor Thue Ersted Rasmussen has been forced to drop out of the part of Eskel, a popular companion from the Witcher games and books, due to scheduling issues cause by the coronavirus shutdowns. Rasmussen was one of seven new actors added to the show’s cast for its second season, taking on the role of the quiet and straight-laced Eskel, a scar-faced monster hunter who’s one of Geralt’s most consistent allies. Except in this case, obviously, where he’s now been replaced by Swiss actor Basil Eidenbenz.

The first season of The Witcher debuted back in December, telling the wide-ranging stories of Geralt, his eventual lover Yennerfer (Anya Chalotra), and the child he’s destined to care for (Freya Allan) amidst a backdrop of political intrigue, magic, and good-old-fashioned stabbing. Rasmussen—who’d filmed on the series for three weeks back in February before the TV shutdowns kicked in—made a post to Instagram this weekend expressing his sadness at leaving the series, but also his continued devotion to the show. The series began filming again in August.

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